Most of us are pretty clueless when it comes to rearing children, especially at the beginning. My younger brother epitomized this when he stepped into the hospital room for a visit after I gave birth to my first child. He took in the sight of Elijah and was like, “So, where are his teeth? And what does he eat?”
It was like he had never seen a baby in his life! (Now he is a pro with his four.)
Whether you are a newbie parent or a parent with multiple children, there’s always a challenge that you have to deal with…at every stage. When they are little there are challenges like training a child to poop in a toilet. Freakin’ hard!
With my four older kids, I took their diapers off at 2 years old. This, according to my mother, would make them realize that urine and excrement have to go somewhere. It usually took two months until they finally understood this so we had urine and excrement on the floor almost everyday. Disinfect! Disinfect! After a while we could anticipate when it was going to happen and rush them into the bathroom. We didn’t always make it! Then I had to scoop up their turdy-turds and transport them to the toilet, making up stories about poop needing to go home.
“Look, he’s happy! He’s going home! Say bye-bye!” Flush. After an insane amount of repetition the message would click and they would get it. (In a year we will have to do the same thing with Catalina.)
Even if Edric and I have five kids, we keep relearning what it means to be parents. The lessons never end and the challenges never cease. It’s a miracle that our kids are turning out okay so far despite our shortcomings.
Yesterday, for example, I was teaching geography and told my son, Edan, that the South China Sea was to the east of the Philippines. Duh. Elijah had to correct my sense of direction. “Mom, the east is always to the right remember, which would make the Pacific Ocean to the right and South China Sea to the left of the Philippines.” He pointed at the Pacific Ocean on the globe as proof of his common sense and my lack of it. Okay, so geography was never a strength of mine. I know I am earth. That’s about it. Heck, I get lost in parking lots.
The point is parenting is difficult on many levels. Teaching geography is peanuts compared to dealing with our children’s heart issues. Potty training is a simple process compared to teaching obedience, respect, treating others with kindness and deference. I could go through a list of character traits that take years of repetition to pass on to our kids.
But here’s some good news…
There’s a manual! It didn’t come in pamphlet size inside the cribs of the hospitals where I birthed my kids. Oh, I would have loved to have a step-by-step guide that was very specific for each of my kids – the kind of printout you find in the box of a new toy — that gives you guidelines on how to operate it, put it together, or supplies you with a list of do’s and dont’s. Don’t eat this, for example. Or, this model is emotional and needs lots of hugging. This one won’t talk much but here’s what you can do to…
However, God has given every parent a manual in the form of His Word. It may not explain how to do Lamaze, or give tips on how to make food interesting to a child, or spell out each milestone of a child’s life and what you can do. But, it does have time-tested principles that answer the greatest questions all parents ought to consider when it comes to parenting:
Who is our child?
What is he or she supposed to become?
What is our role as parents?
How do we get them from baby to adulthood successfully?
What obstacles do we need to be aware of?
What truths do we need to teach them?
How can we equip them to make wise choices that honor God?
How do we survive each season of the parenting journey?
And so on…
Yes, but what about the specifics?! Well, you and I have several options.
- Look for mentors who have gone before us, who have raised their children successfully.
- Get together with other parents who are like-minded in the desire to raise their children successfully, who can come along side you.
- Pray for our children regularly.
- Read books and materials written by experts that are consistent with what God’s Word has to say about parenting and children.
- Attend retreats, seminars, and conferences that can educate us on how to improve, grow, and become the best parents we can be.
I’m happy to tell you that this October 25, 2014, there will be an event for parents that will allow you to do all five of the things I just mentioned above. Like me, I’m sure you struggle with parenting and feel clueless at times. You get discouraged and need to remember what’s most important about your role and what you are doing. You want to know that you’re not the only one who feels this way. You want to love your kids and meet their emotional, physical, intellectual, social, and spiritual needs but you aren’t always sure how. You want to be directed to the resources and mentors that will help you navigate the parenting seascape (which has, unfortunately become very turbulent these days!)
Then, don’t miss Counterflow 2014, a one-day conference for parents like you and me who are in the trenches of raising children and dealing with the challenges of being a mom or dad. THIS IS FOR IMPERFECT PARENTS ONLY! HEY! THAT’S YOU AND THAT’S ME, AND MAYBE EVEN YOUR FRIENDS! HOPE TO SEE YOU ALL THERE!
Here’s what to expect from the plenary speakers and workshops:
1. Francis Kong: “State of the Family Today”
2. Larry Fowler: “Raising up Josephs in the 21st Century”
3. Peter Tan-chi: “The Power of Modeling”
WORKSHOPS (Workshops will be held back to back, so you can attend two of your top choices.)
1. Francis Kong: Bridging the Generation Gap
2. Larry Fowler: Reaching the Heart of Your Child
3. Deonna Tan-chi: Sex & Sexuality
4. Edric and Joy Mendoza: Parenting & Homeschooling: What’s the Fit?
5. Neils and Amyjay Riconalla: Blending a Blended Family
6. Wisdom and Betty Sy, Malu Ortiz, Lincoln and Tina Lim: Parenting Kids with Special Needs
7. Bobbie Barretto: Solo Parenting
8. Ruth Ruivivar: Home Church Partnership in Raising Successful Kids in Today’s World
9. Oscar and Lally Medalla: Parenting Teens 101
10. Paul and Jenny Tan-chi: Disciplining Young Children